Archbishop Desmond Tutu Honorary Freedom informal speech

Following his formal speech at a ceremony at Mansion House to mark his Honorary Freedom of the City of London, Archbishop Tutu commented:

"I am now free to say how much pleasure it brings me that the City of London has this month installed a lady to be Lord Mayor for this forthcoming year…wow!I was just thinking, you know, I’ve reached the age where you are quite repetitive. You tell the same stories over and over again, and sometimes tell them to the person who first told it to you. A few years ago I was invited to a small village in the Netherlands where they named a school after me. The school was celebrating its 400th anniversary. My wife and I went to Holland to share in the celebration. When we arrived a little girl came up to me and asked me, “Were you here when the school started?” I thought I was decrepit but I didn’t think it was quite as bad as that.It is a very, very great joy to mark this particular year with the election of a woman Lord Mayor, only the second in the history of this City.

And I just want to say that when we human beings who speak of a coincidence it is to refer to the quite extraordinary vote that happened in the General Synod on the question of women bishops. Now for all of us who are reticent I just want to tell you that we discovered in South Africa just how much we had denied ourselves, how much we had lost, in not ordaining women to the priesthood. When that happened it was quite amazing the new attributes that men from their very nature are incapable of demonstrating. The new qualities that came into the life of our church. I just want to make a plea to those who may be wanting to hold back on this that you don’t know the incredible enrichment that is going to come your way as woman share with God’s church the headship.We now, I mean quite extraordinarily, have two women bishops – the only two women bishops in the whole of Africa.

One of them was ordained from one of the most conservative parts of our church in Swaziland. Dear friends, we would be crazy to think that God had organised the world in this fashion – that over 50% of human kind should be denied the possibility of exercising the gift’s that God has given them. I myself think we will not see an end to war in the world, we will not see an end to rapacity, we will not see an end to the ghastly things that we see in Syria and in all of these other places until we let women be women. With their gentleness, their capacity to share. We have a saying in one our languages, “A mother is able to share even the eye of a fly.” Why do you think God said to Adam, “It is not good for that man to be alone.” He wasn’t alone. There were the animals and there were the trees and the birds. And God said “Adam, would you like to choose a partner from these animals?” And God made the animals file past Adam. And God said to Adam, “What about this one?” “No.” “And this one?” “No”. “And this one?” “Not on your life.”And then God puts him to sleep. And as the story goes out of Adam’s rib God produces this delectable creature. And when Adam awakes he says: ”Wow! This is just what the doctor ordered.” Men will never be able to reach the full extent of what it means to be human without women. And we will not see a world that has no war, a world where children don’t starve because someone has had to dump surplus in order not to spoil the market. Let women be women and then the rest of us will become human. Thank you."